Well, since my big things in the works, things got crazy. I had two solo shows, one at PhotoArt Studio in the Plaza, one in the South Gallery of the Crystal Bridge and and had my work shown at JRB Art at the Elms Gallery in the Paseo, all in very quick succession, then plop, nothing.
Well, I’m rolling again with my photographic art, so I hope to get this going consistently again.
Let’s give it a shot…
Lots of stuff on my plate right now, keep checking for something big coming in February.
Helped Karen move out of Honky Tonk Girl Dec. 29. Sorry things didn’t work out for her, but I am sure grateful for the opportunity she gave me to get the fine art photography going. I will still have a couple of photographs in the Avalon Building in Paseo, but they are down the hall at Bonedust Oklahoma. Jayme loves The Kiss and The Lookout in the rough wood frames, so she is going to be carrying them. Bonedust has lots of great stuff, I can’t go in there without falling in love with something, and it always seems to be the right size. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!
Going through my work trying to get some organization to it and doing some hard editing for some things I want to do down the road. Stay on the road with me, and I promise it’ll be fun!
High Key can create some interesting translucent affects when done right with good lenses and proper exposure.
I built a mini studio on my kitchen table for a series of flowers and seeds one afternoon and did it again months later to photograph Monarch wings.
It is simple to construct. The first time I used several sheets of plain white letter paper, a piece of 8×10 glass I removed from a frame, some bricks, a macro lens and a couple of off camera flashes.
I laid the paper flat on the table, stacked the bricks on the sides, placed the glass on them, securing with some tape so it wouldn’t shift, then placed two of my Canon 580EX strobes on two more bricks and aimed the heads at the paper. I used an Off Shoe Cord to fire one and the other is set for “Slave”. I then set the flash exposure compensation dial to the highest setting on the over-exposure side. That will render the white as white and give the subjects the translucent quality.
I modified the set some for the butterfly wings. I used an upside down aquarium as the platform, a white photo reflector underneath for the background and then found two small boxes the same size to set the strobes on and aimed them through the glass walls of the aquarium.
I then cropped, added a frame and adjusted the contrast of the single wing photo using “Snapseed” on my iPhone 4s to complete the look.
Just as I envisioned it.
Macro photography has become an area of interest for me me in recent years. Extreme macro. 3X life size kind of macro.
I’ve owned a macro lens and bellows for over 20 years, but it sat in a box once I went digital. The crop sensor cameras just didn’t work out as well. But since the full frame sensor, like the Canon 5D series, TTL flash, off shoe TTL cords, combined with mini soft boxes or umbrellas have made all the difference with the bellows set up.
I have taken an artistic approach to my macro photography, rather than scientific. Technical. I prefer mine to go towards the abstract. I do this by controlling my depth of field, or actually by doing nothing. If you have ever seen a photo of an insect where every spiky hair is sharp, it has probably used a technique called focus stacking. It is accomplished by shooting multiple frames with the focus in different areas, then combining them digitally. The same can be done with flowers. Extreme macro has a very tiny depth of field. It is a result of being so close to the subject. I shoot at the widest aperture I can to minimize the depth, placing it right where I want you to look and then frame the subject with the swirl of out-of-focus color and shape. It is sorta my way of creating a water-color effect.
Most of the time I use my bellows set up on the kitchen table, but I have chased ants along a trail too!
The lens on the camera at the bottom of the photo above is a traditional macro lens that goes down to 1:1 or life size. I use it when I want to include the entire flower. I also have used the macro mode on my Canon G12 and the iPhone 4s. They all have a different look to them, that I match to how I want the subject to look. Cameras are tools, whether they are a DSLR, fit in your pocket or are part of a phone. Today’s technology has made them all a viable choice, it’s our choice as artists to choose the one that works best.
Last October I was contacted by the National Memorial to sit in on a media panel discussion as part of their “First Person” series. It is a series of lectures and panel discussions by people who where involved in the Murrah Federal Building bombing. It can be survivors, first responders, family members who lost someone, and in this case people who were working for local media during the bombing. While I did not go to the site the day of the bombing, I did cover a lot of events and had inside knowledge of how we responded. I also have other unique perspectives in that my wife, Lisa, did go downtown minutes after the explosion and the church I attended at the time, First Christian, became the family center.
It was an honor to be a part of the panel that day for a group of college students.
After the panel discussion I headed out into the Memorial. I always enjoy being there and it brings a since of peace to me. This particular day, as happens many times in Oklahoma, the wind was really strong. As I walked closer to the Reflecting Pool I noticed something I had never seen, ripples of waves rather than the smooth surface it normally is. It really gave the whole place a new look. Instead of the mirror-like reflections, it was broken by tiny waves causing the lines to curve and bend and jump around.
As normal, I had a camera with me, that day a Canon Powershot G12, so I started exploring the reflections. I’ve included my two favorites. One, a red leaf bobbing around along the edge which had other subtle colors mixed in. The second, a reflection from the late afternoon sun coming through the gate of 9:03, again the straight lines broken by the wave patterns. Venturing outside to the fence I found a peace symbol necklace woven into the chain link. The moment I saw it I thought of peace being imprisoned and came up with the title “Set Peace Free”.
Sometimes I think things happen for a reason and this is one of those time. Had it been a calm day or overcast I probably would not have used the pixels, but sometimes it all “clicks”.
I seem to have a lot of luck driving to work. The Kiss is another photo I found on the way to work. While my daughter was in going to Edmond Memorial, I took her to school each day on the way to the tower. I drove south on Boulevard which turns into Eastern/MLK in Oklahoma City. Each day I drove by a horse ranch. Most of the time I didn’t even see any horses, especially in the winter, as they had some great looking barns. Then one cold, brisk morning, not only did I see horses but two were interacting in front of a hazy backlit backdrop. Once again I found the first place I could turn around my car, then lucked out that the was a drive right where I needed to be. Pulled out the 300mm lens and captured the shot when the two horses touched their muzzles together.
Framed with a brown mat in a weathered wood frame gives it just the right look, just like The Lookout. Great together.
The story behind how I came about shooting the cows I call The Lookout, is sort of interesting.
I took the photo on my way to work one morning. I get to the office using Britton Rd from I-35. For about a week as I drove back and forth, there were a group of cows lined up against the fence. Sometimes facing forward, sometimes facing away. But always facing the same direction. One morning as I drove past, I noticed that one cow was facing forward while all the others were facing the opposite direction. Well, I immediately found a place to pull off, grab my camera and then headed back east on Britton Rd. I found another place to turn around, then rolled my window down, pulled up to them slowly, and shot several bursts from the middle of the road!
I originally thought of calling it Think Different but someone beat me to that phrase.
The property is right in the middle of the Antenna Farm for the TV and radio stations. It was also owned at the time by the Gaylords. At the time Ed Gaylord II was president and I had talked with him many times. I decided to make a print for him. So I went to a store and found the perfect frame- weathered wood.
I contacted Ed and he stopped by on the way to lunch and I presented him with the print. He loved it and told me that the cattle belonged to someone who was leasing the property.
And now it available to you! It is, so far, my most popular print.